Frozenbyte, developers of the gorgeous Trine series, offered some perspective into how Nintendo is running the Wii U's eShop recently. They're claiming that Nintendo is giving developers and publishers full control with regards to pricing, as well as the ability to patch or updates games often with no basic charge. This also includes the ability for the developer to create their own sales, a level of control unfounded considering Nintendo's past online ventures.
Mikael Haveri, marketing director at Frozenbyte, summarizes the new Nintendo difference:
"That's what we love about the new eShop. We have the power to price our products as we please, with just some basic guidelines from the big guys. The step to this is purely from Nintendos's side and they clearly see that [their] previous installments have not been up to par. We can set our own pricing and actually continuing on that by setting our own sales whenever we want. It is very close to what Apple and Steam are doing at the moment, and very indie friendly."
The direct comparison to Steam and Apple is obviously quite surprising. Essentially, Frozenbyte is saying that in terms of digital distribution, Nintendo has taken the console lead. Judging from the sheer amount of full launch titles, including Darksiders II and others, available through the eShop, Nintendo has persuaded third parties that the Wii U is a welcoming place. Of course, whether that holds true going forward is another matter entirely.
One thing's for sure, is that Nintendo is setting a precedent that the other console developers will be hard-pressed to follow up on with the Durango and Orbis. Sony has shown a willingness to work with indie developers in order to get games on PSN, but Microsoft is widely known to have very stringent regulations and charges on Xbox Live Marketplace. Nintendo is setting themselves apart in small ways and it shows. Ah, new console launches are so much fun!
"Nintendo messed up the worst last time around. Now they really know that they have to make a huge improvement to get back into the game. What I have seen and heard so far is amazing and it's definitely going in the right direction as far as small developers are concerned."
Your move, Microsoft and Sony.